Tuesday, January 5, 2010

From Thinking to Drinking

Gifted Students and Alcohol Awareness: Scientists Link High Childhood Intelligence and Drinking

According to the October 2008 American Journal of Public Health, "higher childhood mental ability was related to alcohol problems and higher alcohol intake in adult life." Although more research will be done in the area of childhood IQ and adult alcohol use, the AJPH should be of interest to people working with gifted students.

Results of the Study

Researchers G. David Batty, Ian J. Deary, Ingrid Schoon, Carol Emslie, Kate Hunt, and Catharine R. Gale used the 1970 British Cohort Study to track alcohol usage of 8,170 British 10 year-olds. The children were born in 1970, had their IQs tested in at age 10, and participated in follow up research in 2004 and 2008.

The study was published as "Childhood Mental Ability and Adult Alcohol Intake and Alcohol Problems: The 1970 British Cohort Study", and the authors explain how they found statistical links between childhood IQ and increased drinking. For every 15 point increase of measured IQ, there was an average increase of 1.27 times for alcohol abuse, with women more likely than men.

Considerations from Yesterday and Today

The children of this study have differences from today's gifted students. It is unlikely that these students had as much drug prevention education, and gifted education programs were less prevalent than they are today. However, the large number of people involved in the study, the similarity between the 15 point jumps for both genders, and the reaction to the results of the study suggest that the parents and teachers working with gifted children should be prepared to tackle some serious issues as gifted children grow into adulthood.

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